Myself and two best friends will be taking part in the Action for Charity: Ride the Night event this year. It's a women's only event that welcomes thousands of riders every year to the streets of London to ride 100km throughout the night. The aim of this event is to raise awareness and funds for three major women's cancer charities: Breast Cancer Care, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action.
Last year, Ride the Night raised a staggering £1.2 million pounds, and this year they're hoping to smash that and achieve over £2 million. My besties and I have signed up to help the cause, and we need your help! But first, let me introduce Hadouken...
Whenever someone asks me what my favourite thing about mountain biking is, I always say: it's the community that comes with it. My second family is huge, and there are a few key people that have made my cycling life worth living.
A little over a year ago, I attached myself to Lauren Jenkins and Samantha Dugon, like a limpet. It's impossible to not gush over these two women because they are the coolest chicks to ride with, and have since become my best friends. I'm not quite sure where the name "Hadouken" came from for our group name, but Facebook asked for a chat name, and that was the result.
Fellow tea addict, Lauren Jenkins is the wise woman of the group. She's eloquent and exact with words which makes her the perfect fountain of wisdom when you're having a crappy day. She also lives her life on her own made-up time zone.
Lauren's been riding, racing and writing in the mountain bike world for years, and has built up a wealth of knowledge about the industry. Lauren has had articles featured in the best MTB titles out there, and she continues to blow me away by her entertaining, informative and totally personal pieces. Check out her website here for more Lauren Jenkins adventures.
Why is Lauren Riding the Night?
"I’m doing Ride the Night firstly to raise money for charity. I like to look for challenges or new ways in which to help raise money for a good cause and when Jess suggested ride the night I couldn’t think of a better way to help raise funds and spend time with two of my best friends doing something I love. I also think it helps to have an event to train for, once you have something you know you’ll need to prepare for you’re more likely to head out for a ride when the weathers crap or drag yourself to the gym after a long day. My mum has signed up now too, she’s recently got into cycling, so I think that’s pretty awesome. I’m really looking forward to Ride the Night, it should be something to remember!"
Samantha "Saskia" Dugon
With her glorious golden hair-cape, Sam lives her life behind the lens of a camera, or sat on a saddle... quite often both! Accompanied by her loyal (and totally derp) amazing trail dog, Trigger, Sam is the Rival Sons addicted baby of the group.
Fresh out of university, Sam's already made waves in the mountain bike industry. From racing in the BDS, Sam has been working hard to grow her impressive portfolio of photography, video and writing. A published photographer, Sam is a total wizard at making you look like a pro on the bike and her enthusiasm for riding is totally infectious. Check out her amazing riding portfolio here, and her account of the Red Bull Foxhunt 2016 is something to certainly admire.
Why is Sam Riding the Night?
"Whilst I spent most of 2016 on my mountain bike, I am eager to get back to the roots of my cycling passion and how I got involved in this sport in the first place. It will be odd to dress in road kit again, but to do it for this cause will be an honour."
Me: Jessica Strange
And then there's myself. I basically contribute to Hadouken by spamming photos of Gomez Thunderpaws, and sharing whatever nonsense comes into my head.
In addition to Velo Me, I also write for Total Women's Cycling. My mission is to showcase the wonderful world of cycling, with the hopes of encouraging more women to get on two wheels, and fall in love with the sport.
Why am I Riding the Night?
I spent 2016 exploring most cycling disciplines and pushing myself to try new things, but I realised that it was all for me, and now it's time I gave back. It seemed like an obvious choice to enter a women's only charity ride that shares the same enthusiasm I have for cycling, and women's participation that I have. Ride the Night doesn't just challenge my ability to complete 100km on the road bike, but it's for a wonderful cause that I feel passionately for. Being able to do this event as a team with my besties is exciting, and between the three of us, I hope we can raise a sizeable about in donations to contribute to the £2million target.
All three of us are mountain bikers, so this event will be a challenge for us having to battle it out on tarmac, in night conditions and of course, on teeny tiny skinny wheels. Nervous is an understatement, but so is excitement.
Ride the Night takes place on Saturday May 27th 2017, so we have a few months to raise as much as possible. Every little helps, so even 50p or a £1 will help us on our way. Please head over to our JustGiving page to make a donation. Thank you, and wish us luck!